October 1, 2007
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PDA Stresses Importance of Good Nutrition
A healthy diet and good nutrition are essential building blocks for good oral health and overall health. The Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) stresses the importance of watching what you eat and maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Think of your body as a complex machine. The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.
The food you eat can contribute to dental decay. Each time sugary substances enter your mouth, the sugar, and bacteria already in your mouth, combine to produce harmful acids that attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes. Furthermore, if your diet lacks key nutrients, it may reduce the mouth’s ability to fight off infection.
Before heading to the pantry and tossing anything that contains sugar, keep in mind that almost all foods, including milk or vegetables, contain some form of sugar, and many offer important nutrients key to a balanced diet. Instead of cutting out all types of sugar completely, become a more conscientious reader of labels, reducing the amount of food you consume that contains added sugars, such as soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries.
“Soda, whether it be regular soda containing sugar, or diet sugar-free soda, is high in acid content and contributes to decalcification and erosion of enamel, particularly in populations who drink large amounts of it, like teenagers and young adults,” said Dr. David Tecosky, a PDA member and general dentist from Philadelphia.
The PDA recommends a balanced diet as part of maintaining good oral health, and offers the following tips:
- Consume a variety of foods, targeting each of the five major food groups (grains, dairy, fruits, vegetables and meat/poultry/fish).
- Keep snacking to a minimum as foods eaten as part of a meal cause less harm. This is because more saliva is released during mealtime, which helps wash foods from the mouth, lessening the acid build up that causes tooth decay.
- When snacking, choose nutritious snacks such as fruit, raw vegetables, cheese, plain yogurt or other snacks that are low in sugar over high sugar snacks such as candy, chips and cookies.
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily to help remove plaque, the sticky film of bacteria, which gets stuck between the teeth and under the gums.
- Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and check-ups can help prevent problems from occurring and detect possible dental problems in their early stages.
“By eating a balanced diet, you can maintain a healthier immune system, help prevent heart disease and slow diabetes disease progression,” Dr. Tecosky said.View more information about good nutrition.
Pennsylvania Dental Association
Founded in 1868, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA) is comprised of approximately 6,000 member dentists. It is a constituency of the American Dental Association (ADA), the largest and oldest national dental society in the world. PDA’s mission is to improve the public health, promote the art and science of dentistry and represent the interests of its member dentists and their patients. PDA is the voice of dentistry in Pennsylvania. Learn more about PDA.